Holding her walking stick in one hand and a bottle of natural insect repellent in the other, Alyson Jones-Robinson wished she had a gun.
“It was a very surreal experience,” 43-year-old Jones-Robinson said on Friday, a day after the ordeal. “All I could think about was this bear is so close to me I can see its teeth. I could have kissed it. I wished I had a gun.”
The bear, which confronted Jones-Robinson and the two girls as they were hiking the 15-mile Granite Tors Trail in the Chena River State Recreation Area about 40 miles east of Fairbanks on Thursday, wasn’t a large one — probably a 2- or 3-year-old that Jones-Robinson estimated weighed between 100 and 200 pounds — but it was big enough and acting aggressively enough that she knew it was trouble.
“I’m 5-foot-5, and it came up to my chest,” she said, describing the size of the bear.
It already had bluff charged the group several times after they encountered it on the trail about five miles from the trailhead at 39.5 Mile Chena Hot Springs Road. It definitely wasn’t afraid of them, Jones-Robinson said.